Monday, December 8, 2014

NYC: Takashi for Beef Lovers in West Village

You don't forget a picture like this. It's visually stunning. I mean....uni on top of raw marbled chuck flap wrapped with a shiso leaf and seaweed? The contrasting colors and brightness of each ingredient just draws you in. This is pretty much THE definition a "flavor bomb". My friends, this is called the Niku-Uni and you need to eat this at Takashi, a Japanese BBQ restaurant in West Village.

The first time I laid my eyes on this, I knew I had to have it. How can you not want to try this for yourself?
Who knew that uni and beef can taste this good together? The creaminess of the sweet uni really compliments the raw tender beef. The shiso leaf adds a bit of brightness while the crispy seaweed gives that extra crunch and salt that the bite needs. Then add a bit of wasabi and you're good to go.

One way ticket to heaven please.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

NYC: Sushi Yasuda, Traditional Sushi in Midtown

Ask any sushi buff in Manhattan about the best sushi in the city and Sushi Yasuda will likely be on top of their list. It's deemed as one of the best of the best and I've personally stayed away until now because I've felt like too much of a sushi noob to truly appreciate it. Going to Sushi Yasuda would be like me trying to fight a karate master without ever having done a roundhouse kick. Did that metaphor make sense? LOL, it did in my head. ;)

On the surface, the concept of "sushi" is so simple, it's basically fish on top of rice. But as you dive deeper, you come to find that preparing a perfect piece of sushi is so much more than that. Sushi chefs in Japan take their art very seriously - I mean, you've seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi right? Good fish isn't just about cutting up your freshest piece of fish, but it's about the aging process and sometimes even marinating it to enhance its flavors. And then don't even get me started on the rice.

But, this year has been the year of the Omakase for me. I've been working my way through different sushi spots in the city to up my sushi game. Everyone has their own preferences of what the perfect bite is. But after a year of "training", I was finally ready to face the master.
Sushi 101 teaches: for the best experience, you must sit at the sushi counter.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Did I ever tell you about my fruit-phobia? I know, this basically goes against everything that a fitness foodie should be. Don't even get me started on how silly I know it all is. It's something I grew up fearing - if you accidentally choose the wrong piece of fruit, it can have a weird texture, be super sour. I'd rather stick with my basics like watermelon and banana.

I've been slowly overcoming this strange aversion to fruit. In the last year, I have been exposing myself to fruits that normal people eat. I'm talking about things like fresh blueberries, raspberries and cherries which seem completely normal, but I'm so proud of myself for finally enjoying. I've also been wanting to step out of my smoothie comfort zone as well. In an attempt to expand my fruit smoothie horizons, I picked up a bag of frozen cherries to turn into a smoothie.

I thought about what other flavors worked well with cherry and vanilla came to mind. I asked J, cherries + my vanilla protein, that's not weird is it? He looked at me like...umm... Hello, Cherry Vanilla Coke?.... duh?! Not sure how I forgot about that classic combo, and if Coke can make a soda flavor out of it, it must be delicious.

Even after I finished blending my smoothie, I hesitated a little before drinking it. What if it tasted weird/sour and I hated it? That's the fear I usually have biting into a piece of fruit. Anyway, I decided to stop being a big baby and took my first sip. The flavor was sweet but also a little tart, but overall a good change of pace during the Clean Cleanse!

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

10 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup of frozen cherries
1/2 cup ice
2 tablespoon of brown rice vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
splash of vanilla extract

1. Add to blender. Blend until smooth and serve!
P.S. How do you like my impersonation of Van Gogh's Almond Blossom painting? Masterpiece done at Paint Along with a glass of wine in hand. Think I'm a natural, am I right?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Foodies & Beauty Buffs

Happy Cyber Monday! With all the online shopping I did this weekend, I have gifts on my mind. I'm all about practical gifts, so I've put together a list of some things I can't live without or have been longing for on my own wish list. Hopefully this sparks some ideas for things to get the special ladies in your life!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Foodie

1. BKR Glass Water Bottle
2. Nike Free's - this print is my favorite!!
3. Foam Roller
4. Microwaveable Steam Case With Draining Tray | On Sale Here for 50% off w/ limited stock
5. Lifting Gloves
6. Clean Eats Cookbook
7. Spiralizer - Zoodles anyone?
8. Nutribullet
9. Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

Sunday, November 30, 2014

NYC: Babbo's Winter White Truffle Tasting

I've always been a little bit weary of restaurants by TV celebrity chefs because they often have the reputation of being overrated. I get it, when you are popular, you can rely on your fame to attract the crowds. So when a few people told me that Mario Batalli's Babbo in NYC was nothing exceptional, I had no reason to go out of my way to try it myself. That was until Jen gave me a reason.

Three words: Winter. White. Truffles.

Take those words in and let the aroma intoxicate you. Truffle is known to be one of the most expensive ingredients in the world. It's a part of the fungus family and if you just ate a bite of it like you would an apple, you wouldn't really be wowed by it. It almost tastes like nothing, dirt even ... but the smell of it. It's the smell that gets you. That's why truffles are often shaved fresh in front of you, the slicing process releases the aroma that really takes over the senses and makes you feel a bite if heaven on earth.

Until recently, I didn't even realize there were two kinds of truffles, black and white. (Food noob?) As it turns out white truffles are a lot more fragrant than its black counterpart, therefore more desirable. It's also a lot more seasonal, with the peak of its season being the winter time. So winter white truffles is truly the best of the best. The folks at Eater can tell you more about this obsession...